Mercedes have taken a clean sweep victories at Suzuka in the hybrid era and despite the threat posed by a resurgent Ferrari, should again be considered the most likely victors at this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix 2019 (Race: 1:10am ET Sunday).
Lewis Hamilton was somewhat fortunate to win for Mercedes in Russia two weeks ago. Ferrari were in control before Sebastian Vettel’s retirement occasioned a virtual safety car that allowed both Mercedes to pit and emerge ahead of the other Ferrari of Charles Leclerc.
Mercedes were able to maintain that advantage through what remained of the race, with Hamilton leading home his teammate Valtteri Bottas to snap a three-race winless streak. Hamilton increased his drivers’ championship lead to 73 points over Bottas and 107 over Leclerc, the first non-Mercedes runner in third.
It would now take a disastrous set of results across the final five races of the season to prevent Hamilton and Mercedes claiming both championships, a sixth apiece. While Ferrari have certainly showed themselves to be a worthy competitor since the summer break, Mercedes have a car that can be expected to be the class of the field at Suzuka this weekend.
Mercedes have won each of the last five Japanese GrandvPrix, locking out the front row in qualifying on all five occasions and securing three 1-2 finishes along the way. Hamilton has won four of them, which added to his victory in Fuji in 2007 makes him the second most successful driver in the history of the Japanese Grand Prix. He is just one win shy of Michael Schumacher’s record of six wins in the event.
The Mercedes package looks well-suited to the Suzuka circuit, which boasts Formula One’s only figure-of-eight configuration. Schumacher’s record is therefore a mark that Hamilton has a good chance of matching by taking victory on Sunday. If you are placing a wager with the U.S. sports gambling sites, then that will be one of our concluding F1 Japanese Grand Prix predictions.
Red Bull came home fourth and fifth in Russia, with Max Verstappen finishing ahead of teammate Alexander Albon. This weekend’s Grand Prix is the home race for the team’s engine supplier Honda, who will be keen to secure a good result after four pointless years at Suzuka in the back of first the McLaren and then, last year, the Toro Rosso. They have manipulated engine usage to ensure the cars arrive in Japan well-placed to perform well.
Red Bull have been very competitive in Japan in recent years, particularly in the hands of Verstappen. He finished second there in 2016 and 2017, and then came home third in last year’s race.
He is unlikely to repeat the victory he achieved at Red Bull’s home race in Austria in June, Honda’s first win since their return to F1 in 2015. However, Verstappen has a solid chance of getting himself on the podium on Sunday. His cause will be aided further if the forecast rain does arrive.
Carlos Sainz secured his sixth top-six finish of the year in Russia, coming home sixth ahead of the Racing Point of Sergio Perez, his McLaren teammate Lando Norris, the Haas of Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg’s Renault. McLaren are still targeting sixth in the drivers’ championship for Sainz, who is currently three points behind Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly in that race. He has Albon, Gasly’s replacement at Red Bull, making up ground fast behind.
Toro Rosso should, in theory, have quite a quick package this weekend given that they have shown solid pace at other circuits this year that feature the sort of long, sweeping curves found at Suzuka. They haven’t scored in Japan since a double-points finish in 2015 but came close last year, when Gasly finished 11th.
Things didn’t work out as hoped for Gasly following his promotion to Red Bull at the start of this season. He has done a solid job since dropping back down to Toro Rosso from the Belgian Grand Prix onwards, securing two points finishes in four races. He qualified in seventh for Toro Rosso at last year’s Japanese Grand Prix, showing he has decent pace around Suzuka. Gasly can be fancied to get himself into the points on Sunday.
Our Preview’s F1 Japanese Grand Prix Betting Predictions & Picks Verdict
- Bet on Lewis Hamilton to win the race @ best odds of +165 with Bookmaker.
- Get on Max Verstappen to finish in the top three (ie: a podium finish) @ biggest odds of +175 (7/4) with Bovada or BetOnline. To find this market with BetOnline, go to ‘other sports’ / ‘auto racing’ / ‘motor sports’ (ie: it is not within their formula 1 link!)
- Back Pierre Gasly to finish in the points (ie: a top 10 finish) @ +175 with Bovada or, and the same navigational instructions apply as above, BetOnline.